If you haven't had internet access for the last three years, then you probably haven't heard that J.K. Rowling co-wrote a play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a follow-up to her Harry Potter series. Also, you should google Left Shark. It's a funny meme you missed. Anyway, the play's transcript was published this weekend (in celebration of Harry's/Rowling's birthday) so people who don't live in London/can't afford expensive theater tickets could experience the magic. The plot follows Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, Harry and Draco's sons respectively, as they get their hands on a Time-Turner and do what seems like a Hogwarts rite of passage at this point: nearly destroy the wizarding world. As satisfying as having another final chapter added to Harry Potter's story was, we were still left with some questions.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
1. What exactly is the normal aging process of a wizard?
Wizards and witches seem to age at very different rates in the Harry Potter series. We know that, unlike humans, magicfolk can live into their hundreds. Beyond that, their aging process is a mystery. I mean, we have the Trolley Witch. She's been on the Hogwarts Express for almost 200 years and remains phyiscally capable and competent. Then there's can McGonagall, who still teaches at Hogwarts and remains the biggest baddest witch, even though she's older than time itself (she's approaching her 90th birthday in Cursed Child). But then there's Amos Diggory, half Minerva's age and confined to a wheelchair.
If many wizards can live into their hundreds without experiencing the downsides of old age, then why is there an old folks' home for wizards and witches? How incapacitated can a being who DOES MAGIC really get? Hogwarts nurse Madam Pomfrey claims she can mend a broken bone instantly but the wizarding medical community can't come up with a spell or potion to enable older folks to walk? Or a magic painkiller to keep them comfortable in their own homes? What's the point of house elves if they don't serve as the cheapest in-home hospice care?
2. Why is everybody so worried about alternate timelines?
The play's plot focuses on time travel. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy keep using the Time-Turner to go back in time and try to save Cedric Diggory's life.
However, in true Marty McFly fashion, the minor changes they make to the past drastically alter the present. But instead of accidentally inventing rock n' roll, Albus and Scorpius just fuck everything up. They take after their dads that way.
The first two times they try to alter the results of Triwizard Tournament, they return to the present and find it significantly changed. The second present they return to is terrible: The Dark Lord has risen. Albus has never been born. And worst of all, RON AND HERMIONE ARE NOT MARRIED.
Scorpius explains to people in this alternate present that he went back in time and really mucked things up and created this awful world. Most of them don't believe him because if someone broke down your door and shouted at you, "Everything about your reality is wrong! You're living a lie! You're supposed to be married to a Weasley!" you'd be like, "Hold that thought, I gotta call St. Mungo's real fast cuz they're obviously missing their star patient."
That's because the people in this alternate timeline aren't aware of their other versions. This is the only reality they know. This makes it hard to understand the characters' motivations.
When the adults (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Draco) in the original timeline realize what's going on, they hold a press conference to explain why they need to find Albus and Scorpius and stop them from changing the past. Hermione stresses how important it is that they keep the past the way it was, saying that if they don't, many of them won't exist in whatever alternate timeline the boys accidentally produce. Basically, the adults believe that they might suddenly disappear if they don't maintain the past. But that's now how time travel works in this universe.
Nobody would wake up in the alternate timeline and know that the past had been shifted and that their world had changed forever. In their consciousness, there would be no sudden change. In fact, they would wake up and think the world was normal and was as it had always been, and they would continue on with their lives.
Also, maybe some people would have a better life in the alternate timeline. Maybe some people rather live in a world where they're not married to a Weasley.
In fact, Albus and Scorpius didn't really prove that changing the past is a bad idea. They just proved that they are bad at changing the past.
If someone did it successfully, it could work out quite well for everyone. I mean, think about it this way: maybe somebody already has used time travel to optimize the past, and we're living in the best case scenario timeline. That's a depressing thought, that this is as good as it gets.
3. How did Bellatrix have Voldemort's baby?
Biggest plot twist in the play: Lord Voldemort is NOT a virgin. How?!?
First, how did Voldemort have sex with Bellatrix? The book doesn't delve into how Voldemort's soul status affects the functioning of all his organs, but what we do know is that he doesn't have a nose. Instead he has two snake-like slits. What does that mean about his lower organ? Does he have a penis or does he have two tiny slits that spray semen everywhere? This is a terrible image. I wish we could erase it from the earth. Why couldn't have Albus and Scorpius gone back and prevented Lord V from giving B the D?
Also, Delphi says that Bellatrix gave birth in the Malfoy Manor before the Battle of Hogwarts. How come no one knew Bellatrix was pregnant? Harry Potter and his friends saw Bellatrix at the Malfoy Manor in March, two or three months before of the Battle of Hogwarts. Here's the timeline. She would have been 7 months pregnant then.
She certainly doesn't look 7 months pregnant.
I do think we have a pretty good idea of what Voldemort's baby looked like, though:
4. Why does Harry still speak Parseltongue?
We learn in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that Harry is a Parseltongue. This is cool not because he gets to hear snakes share fun stories about their tails growing back, but because it can help Harry keep tabs on Voldemort.
Later it is revealed that Harry can talk to snakes because when Voldemort made him into a Horcrux, he passed on this ability. Harry was an unusual case because traditionally Parselmouth status is inherited genetically. Case in point: Delphi, Voldemort's biological daughter, is a Parselmouth.
However, in Cursed Child, Harry no longer carries a piece of Voldemort's soul but he still speaks Parseltongue. Harry acknowledges this plothole in the last scene, saying that he isn't sure how this is possible, shrugging it off to the mental scars Voldemort left. But this calls into question everything the wizarding world knows about parseltongue. Do you have to be born with the ability to speak it? Or is Parseltongue just like any other language and, no matter how many years you go without practicing, you never forget how to ask "Where is the toilet"?
5. Okay, seriously, why no cellphones?
The play begins in 2017. There is no reason the wizarding world would avoid cellphones completely in this day and age. It made sense in the books because those events took place in the 1990s. Cellphones were just emerging, and the wizarding community would be skeptical of this new muggle technology.
Now cellphones are so widespread that it's impossible to believe that wizards and witches wouldn't adopt them. I mean, Harry and Draco spend most of the playing trying to figure out where their children are. This could be easily solved if they'd gifted their sons iPhones before they went off to magical boarding school. Also, getting the gang together to strategize and problem-solve would be simpler if everyone didn't have to travel via dirty chimneys and they could just do a group Skype chat instead.
And it's about time the wizarding community released owls from their indentured servitude.
6. Why hasn't a Hogwarts student had sex with Moaning Myrtle yet?
Moaning Myrtle may live in toilet water, but that ghost is eternally THIRSTY. Will someone please have sex with her? She cannot spend the rest of time calling people "naughty boys."
It's hard to believe that in a school filled with horny adolescents (who only have one school dance every couple hundreds years) that nobody has had sex with Moaning Myrtle yet. Who cares if she is a ghost? Teen boys have sex with couches all the time. Imagine how many times the Room of Requirement has appeared to a group of Hogwarts teen wizards as a fleshlight store. You'd think Moaning Myrtle would be more popular than Peeves.